Google has been working hard to update things lately. First, it was the dawn of Google Plus. Then, Google set its sights on Google Documents. Next, rumours that Gmail is about to get a facelift circulated. Finally, Google changed the look and appearance of Google Reader. Most would think that improvements to Google’s many services would be welcomed with open arms – most would be wrong.
As it turns out, Google Reader users aren’t thrilled with the new changes that Google has made to the beloved Reader platform. Users are so upset that they’ve decided to take matters into their own hands by creating a petition. The group of users who are signing this petition are known as the “Sharebros,” and they are serious about forcing Google to put things back to the way they used to be.
What Google Changed
Before we can jump into the cause behind the Sharebro fanaticism, I'll explain (for those of you who don’t use Google Reader regularly) what Google has done to the Reader platform. Essentially, Google has made it impossible to use Google Reader unless you set up and use a Google Plus account. This sneaky method of adding users to Google Plus is not being received with open arms.
Prior to the new Google Reader changes, users could easily share articles with other Google Reader users through a dedicated circle of sorts. Now, Google Reader users must share articles using Google Plus or email an article directly. This is angering a group of Sharebros who want Google Reader to go back to its former glory.
What can be done when a company changes something as familiar as Google Reader? Generally, companies listen to what users are saying, and Google is great at following consumer requests. So, naturally, the Sharebros have drafted a petition asking Google to reset Google Reader. Most of the people who use Google Reader (according to Mashable) are Iranian activists. These activists used to generate a large reader following by using Google Reader.
Allowing people to follow a user through Google Reader is no longer possible, and this is causing a lot of angst. In addition to the petition, Sharebros are taking things to the Twitter streets. Using hashtags such as #OccupyGoogleReader (writer’s note: the #occupy hashtag has had its heyday), Sharebros hope to gain lots of reader attention. Will Google respond to these demands?
It’s not likely that Google will turn its sights away from social media. The company has been trying to hack into the social media market for some time now, and this may mean letting go of a few thousand unhappy fans.
Of course, these fans could simply open a Google Plus account and add followers to Google Plus circles. Then again, this might not be possible in some countries. Keep in mind that some Google Reader users are, in fact, happy with the changes that Google has made. For now, Google has not commented on the Google Reader petition, and Google Reader still bears its new interface.